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Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru no longer visa free

4 December 2003 Media Statement

Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru no longer visa free

Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel today announced that the visitor visa-waiver scheme for Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru nationals will be suspended from 12am Monday 8 December 2003.

“From 8 December all visitors from Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru will need to obtain a visa in order to travel here,” Lianne Dalziel said.

The main purpose of the move is to provide a consistent visa policy for all Pacific countries and the change brings Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru into line with this.

Visa waivers for a number of Pacific Islands countries were introduced in December 1986, allowing people to visit New Zealand visa-free for up to three months. However, a surge in visitor numbers meant visa requirements for most Pacific countries were reimposed shortly afterwards.

“It is now appropriate to also reintroduce visa requirements for visitors from Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru,” said Lianne Dalziel.

“The visa requirement policy does not detract from New Zealand’s ties with the Pacific, which are as warm and strong as ever. However, it is important that the adverse impacts of immigration are properly managed. Work and study already require visas so the change will not be that significant.

“The Pacific Access Category, which the government introduced last year, provides preferential access for permanent residents from a number of Pacific countries including Tuvalu and Kiribati and explicitly recognises the importance of New Zealand’s relationships with our Pacific neighbours. In the case of Tuvalu and Kiribati, the residence category replaced outdated work schemes,” she said.

People from Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru will need to apply for visitor’s visas from the New Zealand Immigration Service office in Suva, if they are travelling to New Zealand or if they are transiting New Zealand on their way to or from other destinations, although this will carry no cost.

Special provision can be made for genuine visitors already scheduled to travel to New Zealand but who do not have time to apply for a visa. Similarly, bona fide visitors and regular business travellers can take advantage of multi-entry visas which will allow travel to New Zealand without applying for a visa every time.

ENDS

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